General Academic Requirements

The following academic requirements apply to all liberal arts degree candidates who begin their enrollment at the College Fall 2018 or later.

I. Academic Skills

Effective writing and reasoning are important in all academic disciplines and are hallmarks of the educated person.  The development and utilization of these skills will be evident in courses throughout the curriculum.  Students are also required to have some knowledge of a language other than English—a skill which helps in understanding the structure of language as well as providing access to another culture.  Requirements have been established so that all students may have the opportunity to achieve competency in these skills early in their college experience.


  1. First-Year Seminars (FY)
    Small, discussion-oriented courses that focus on the development of effective thinking, writing, and speaking skills.  In the concentration on writing, emphasis is placed on the formulation of thesis, critical use of evidence, and processes of revision.  All students are required to complete a First-Year Seminar. 

  2. Writing (W)
    Competency in writing clear and cogent expository prose.  Required:  First-Year Seminar and two additional writing intensive courses; one of these must be a course designated by the major department.

  3. Language (FL)
    The development of the basic skills of language acquisition and usage such as understanding grammatical structure, oral-aural ability, reading comprehension, and writing ability as well as an introduction to the cultural aspects of language study.  Required:  two courses in the same language OR proficiency adequate to prepare students for the Conversation & Composition course (301, 302) in the language.  Students are  encouraged to complete the language requirement by the end of the sophomore year.  Initial placement in language study at Muhlenberg is dependent upon experience and placement test results as recommended by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

  4. Reasoning (RG)
    The ability to understand and utilize mathematical and/or logical relationships, to analyze data, to construct and assess arguments, and to make sound judgments.  A course used to fulfill the Reasoning requirement may not be double counted for a distribution requirement.  Required:  one course.  Students are encouraged to complete the reasoning requirement no later than the end of the sophomore year.


II. Intellectual Breadth

The following requirements provide breadth in the academic experience of all students.  Courses meeting distribution designations will introduce students to the different types of assumptions, questions, ways of understanding, and results that characterize various fields of inquiry in the liberal arts.  Within a distribution area each course satisfying that area requirement must have a different prefix.  A maximum of two courses required for the major may be used to satisfy a distribution requirement. 

Departments listed with distribution areas will generally offer courses with that designation, although there may be certain instances where the department may offer a course in another distribution area.  Interdisciplinary Programs that offer a course(s) within a distribution area are listed as well.  Because the nature of interdisciplinary programs is to span several academic areas, an Interdisciplinary Program may be listed in more than one distribution area.


  1. Arts (AR) one course
    Students develop the technical skills, problem-solving ability, judgment, and courage necessary to create new work in the visual, performing, and literary arts, together with the knowledge of the theory, history, and social context of artistic practice.
    Departments and Programs:  Art, Music, Theatre, Dance, and Creative Writing and Film Studies

  2. Humanities (HU) three courses with different prefixes
    Students interpret and evaluate issues of human concern, experience, and expression by means of analysis, critical reasoning, and historical reflection.  They cultivate knowledge and understanding of human activity and world views across time, geography, and cultures.
    Departments and Programs:  English; History; Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Philosophy; Religion Studies; and American Studies; Film Studies; and Jewish Studies

  3. Natural Sciences and Mathematics (SC) two courses with different prefixesStudents explore biological, computational, mathematical, and physical theories and paradigms.  They use quantitative and scientific problem solving skills to investigate natural phenomena.
    Departments and Programs:  Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics, and Environmental Science, Neuroscience, and Sustainability Studies

  4. Social Sciences (SL) two courses with different prefixes
    Students investigate how modern institutional structures and social, political, economic and cultural practices shape and are shaped by individual choices, group behavior, and public policies.  Students develop an understanding of the operations of power and ideology across social contexts, relationships, and practices.
    Departments and Programs:  Accounting, Business, Economics, and Finance; Education; Media and Communication; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology and Anthropology; and International Studies


III. Exploration and Integration

Muhlenberg College is committed to the interdisciplinary exploration and integration of ideas throughout the four years of undergraduate education. We strive to enable our students to make connections between various areas of knowledge and approaches to inquiry, to prepare for life as global citizens, and to integrate what they are learning in their major with their broad educational experience at Muhlenberg.


  1. Integrative Learning (IL)         
    Students must enroll in one designated Integrative Learning experience.  These experiences emphasize making connections that combine disparate disciplinary, methodological, ideological, or epistemological perspectives; entail applying multiple ways of knowing to concepts and experiences; and empower students to recognize and solve problems, address existing questions, and ask new ones in more comprehensive ways.  The Integrative Learning curricular requirement provides opportunities for intentionally cultivating this way of thinking in collaborative environments and communities.

  2. Human Difference and Global Engagement (DE) two courses
    Students must take two designated courses in the areas of Human Difference and Global Engagement. HDGE courses across the curriculum aim to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of human difference and to develop the intellectual and civic skills students require for participation in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.  HDGE courses may double count for distribution and integrative learning requirements.

  3. Culminating Undergraduate Experience (CUE)
    Culminating Undergraduate Experiences (CUEs) are the capstone experience in a major and provide the opportunity for students to clarify their relationship to a discipline, demonstrate their mastery of content, reflect on accumulated content and experiences, and open new paths for the future.  They are required for all majors offered by departments and programs at Muhlenberg College and are the purview of the departments and programs.  The CUE can be a credit-bearing course or an assignment embedded within a credit-bearing course. 

IV. Personal and Professional Development (PPD)

The Personal and Professional Development requirement provides students with an opportunity to develop their identity as students and members of the Muhlenberg campus community, supporting their success in college and beyond.  Experiences that satisfy the Personal and Professional Development requirement focus on aspects of personal and career development, and aim to cultivate one's understanding of community responsibility, supports, and resources on campus.  It is expected that students will fulfill the semester long PPD graduation requirement within their first year.